Saturday, October 26, 2019
30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Sir 35: 12 – 14, 16 – 18 / 2 Tm 4: 6 – 8, 16 – 18 / Lk 18: 9 –14
1ST READING: Sir 35: 12 – 14, 16 – 18
The Lord is judge and shows no partiality. He will not disadvantage the poor, he who hears the prayer of the oppressed. He does not disdain the pleas of the orphan, nor the complaint of the widow. . .
The one who serves God wholeheartedly will be heard; his petition will reach the clouds. The prayer of the humble person pierces the clouds, and he is not consoled until he has been heard. His prayer will not cease until the Most High had looked down, until justice has been done in favor of the righteous.
FROM THE 2ND READING: 2 Tm 4: 6 – 8
As for me, the time of sacrifice has arrived, and the moment of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness with which the Lord, the just judge, will reward me on the last day; and not only me, but all those who longed for his glorious coming.
GOSPEL READING: Lk 18: 9 – 14
Jesus told another parable to some persons fully convinced of their own righteousness, who looked down on others, "Two men went up to the Temple to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and said, 'I thank you, God, that I am not like other people, grasping, crooked, adulterous, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and give a tenth of my income to the Temple.'
"In the meantime the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.'
"I tell you, when this man went down to his house, he had been set right with God, but not the other. For whoever makes himself out to be great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be raised.."
God seems to have a strong preference for people who are humble and weak. This reality is in fact proclaimed in the Beatitudes: "Fortunate are those who have the spirit of the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied." Such is the case in our parable in the Gospel reading today.
Two people come to the Temple to pray: one praises himself and the other praises God. The first, a Pharisee, recites a thanksgiving prayer which praises himself more than God; he exalts himself at the expense of other people.
The tax collector, on the other hand, hardly looks up in utter shame for his sinfulness, beats his breast and begs profusely for God's mercy. In a very real sense, the tax collector realizes and acknowledges that he needs God more than anyone else in his life. He, in fact, praises God's rich mercy and compassion.
In the first reading we also read about God's readiness to listen to the humble and poor: "He will not disadvantage the poor, he who hears the prayer of the oppressed. He does not disdain the pleas of the orphan, nor the complaint of the widow. "
In the second reading Paul expresses his trust that God would reward him for his faithful service and sacrifice in preaching the Gospel.
The more humble we are in accepting our sinfulness, the more open we become to God's rich mercy and compassion. More than anything else, we need God and depend on his graciousness. Authentic prayer arises from a deep sense of humility and generates a response of profound gratitude. Today is an invitation to examine the quality of our prayer life. Are we like the self-righteous Pharisee who praises and exalts himself at the expense of others or are we like the humble tax collector who depends entirely on God's rich mercy and compassion?
FINALLY, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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